Edgefield County, SC

County Name: 
Edgefield
State: 
South Carolina

Total population (1850): 39,262

Enslaved population (1850): 22,725

Percent slave: 58%

Extant nineteenth-century inquests: 524

Date range: 1829-1899

Percentage of violent crimes in county sample: 39% (202/524)

The small, rural district of Edgefield, South Carolina was the Deadwood of its day, amassing a reputation for murder and mayhem unique in the nation. Forget the gangs of New York, the toughs in tailored suits strutting about Edgefield's Court House Square were up for almost anything. Take this typical exchange between Thomas Cherry and Charles Cobb.

Cherry: "You Damn puppy."

Cobb: "What are you?"

Cherry: "Do you mean to call me a Damn puppy?"

Cobb: "What are you?"

Cherry: "If you call me a Puppy, I will ag you in the face."

Cobb: "You are nothing else."

With that Cherry stabbed Cobb through the face with an umbrella.

"If we over in Edgefield insult each other, there is generally a fight or a funeral afterwards."

"If we over in Edgefield insult each other, there is generally a fight or a funeral afterwards," noted Ben Tillman, one of the ten men of the district to serve the state as governor. Like Tillman, circuit judge Thomas Mackey took an almost perverse pride in the region's reputation. "I am going to hold court in Edgefield," he told a friend, "and I expect a somewhat exciting term, as the fall shooting is about to start."

Like most reputations, Edgefield's was at once deserved and exaggerated. At 39 percent, Edgefield County does have the highest proportion of violent crimes in the CSI:D sample. At 35 percent, Greenville County is not that far behind. More important, Edgefield's reputation for affairs of honor masks the mountain of dishonorable violence revealed by the morgue. Men spoiling for a fight on the street are rarely much different at home. In June 1893, Bill Gasten was sitting near his wood pile when his wife emerged from the house to draw some water from the well. Something she said set him off and he grabbed up a walking stick, hit her with it, then threw her down and began choking her. Emerging from the kitchen, her sister grabbed up the stick and told Bill to "let his wife alone." She had just started back to the kitchen when Bill cracked her head with a hoe.

Edgefield County, SC Inquests

Displaying 201 - 250 of 524
Name Deceased Description Date Inquest Location Death Type Death Methodsort descending
Tom negro slave December 18, 1858 at Chlo Watsons Homicide
Emaline Jackson August 27, 1894 at Dr Childs Plantation Natural Causes
Silvy Nix January 1, 1891 Natural Causes
Henry Jennings September 14, 1891 at the residense of diceased Natural Causes
Edward Johnston December 26, 1892 at William Bushes Unknown
Elijah Flour[?] youth July 24, 1849 at the hous of Mrs Salley Spradley Accident
Susan Churchwell October 6, 1884 at Allen Simkins House Unknown
Milledge Denny colored child June 23, 1868 at Rev. H.T. Baitleys Homicide
Tom Slave, old negro man January 12, 1853 near the residence of Harry Scott Accident
George Mitchel June 21, 1881 at J. R Corleys Accident
Henry slave, boy May 1, 1857 at Arthur Glovers House, Horns Creek Accident
Hardy Boulware January 2, 1862 at Hardy Boulwares Homicide
Thomas Glover August 2, 1893 at Bill Werk[?] Residence Homicide
James Reynolds December 20, 1860 at the residence of James Reynolds Homicide
Alexander P. Kennard February 16, 1847 in the District Natural Causes
Lidda Hampton November 24, 1893 at A Derrecks Natural Causes
Esther Jeter April 17, 1893 at Huiets x Roads Accident
Garett Doby October 11, 1880 at William Rufus Natural Causes
Louisa Wooden October 13, 1893 at Mose Woden Accident
infant child infant child January 10, 1892 at Trenton Accident
Eva Blocker February 11, 1893 at J. P. Wrights Plantation Accident
Robert Reynolds July 30, 1892 at J.W. Reynolds Plantation Accident
William Perry January 7, 1894 in the county and state aforesaid Accident
Jim Coleman freidman November 15, 1866 at the Mackey Place on horse Creek Accident
J. M. Long October 10, 1891 at J. M. Longs Homicide
Lilla Olophant female infant August 18, 1879 at Simpton[?] Pinns[?] Accident
Isham Glover August 9, 1892 at Edgefield C.H. Homicide
Reubin Weaver December 28, 1895 at Elijah Boatwrights Plantation Natural Causes
James Frazier Babie October 24, 1890 at D. B Hollingworth Accident
Infant Boy Child Infant Boy Child June 18, 1883 at Marsh Grobe Yard Accident
Ansabelle Brown October 21, 1866 near the Tambor[?] Soba[?] Rail Road Unknown
John G. Riddle July 3, 1860 at the residence of Mr Richard Burton Natural Causes
Kizziah[?] slave, servant March 11, 1860 at the residence of Mr M Lanham Natural Causes
Cooper slave March 17, 1852 at the plantation of L.H. Mundy decd Natural Causes
Emanuel slave March 12, 1856 at Matthew McGraw's plantation Accident
Lona May Hamilton child October 18, 1893 at or near Longmires PO[?] Natural Causes
Will Collens October 20, 1894 at Gaines SC Homicide
Mary Grace Aldrich infant child August 11, 1856 at Graniteville Homicide
J. D. Wells December 14, 1890 at Edgefield C.H. Natural Causes
Learma Butler November 7, 1890 at W.H. Folks plantation Natural Causes
Sallie Holmes December 20, 1893 at D. P. Bodies[?] Accident
James L. Hill January 10, 1867 at James L Hills Accident
Caroline Free negro August 26, 1858 four miles from Hamburg Unknown
A. G. Leek February 23, 1859 at A. G. Leeks Residence Other
Julia Mundy June 17, 1881 at Jas H Banknight Homicide
George Robinson January 12, 1892 at the plantation of E. B. Davis Natural Causes
Dinah Woman Slave May 22, 1849 at Allen Griffith Natural Causes
Wallace E. Bland July 4, 1880 at Edgefield C. House Homicide
Luther Harris May 26, 1899 at the plantation of George F Towns Homicide
Charles negro boy November 14, 1842 On Mr Thos Oliver's Plantation, at or near Said Oliver's residence Accident

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